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Southland Christian Ministry Training

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Are You In Balance?

Each week holds unique challenges, but the trouble I have is trying to keep up with all that MUST be done! Whether it is counselling, visiting units, writing reports, leading death notification seminars or preparing for ANZAC day, there never seems to be enough time and just pushing harder to fit more in just doesn’t seem to be working.

I suspect that I am not alone in this dilemma, and one of my colleagues sent me the following story about Anthony the Great, one of the original Desert Fathers.

One day a hunter came to the hermitage and found Anthony talking and relaxing with a couple of the brothers, and was shocked! He thought that these desert hermits ALWAYS should be solemn, austere, labouring hard in prayer or doing something!

Anthony wanted to teach him a lesson so said to him: “Put an arrow in your bow, and draw it”, and he did so. Then Anthony said “draw it further” and he drew it some more. “What about a little bit more?” “NO!” replied the hunter emphatically, draw it any more and the bow will snap!

Anthony answered, “So it is with God’s work. If we always go to excess, the brothers quickly become exhausted. It is sometimes best not to be so rigid.”

Good advice to all of us, who think that being busy is a virtue. The key is not just trying to do more things but seeking to discern the right things to do, which will allow time and energy for relaxation and relationships. Balance is required, there are things that “MUST” be done but all too often I allow the urgent things to crowd out the important things. Sadly, most of the time it is not other people who do this to me, I do it to myself! Yet poor self care will result in failure if left unaddressed over time. My bow feels to be at breaking point, so I am trying to let off some tension. What about you?

Chaplain Ian Whitley

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